The Children's Institute Blog

Café Concert at The Day School

Posted: Jun 02, 2017 by The Children's Institute

Jen Sweazon filled The Children Institute of Pittsburgh’s café with an enormous amount of energy this week with her tap dance performance for The Day School (TDS) students. 

Her performance was part of a café concert series set up by TDS music teacher Eric Emmons, who feels performances such as these should be as casual and comfortable as possible.

“I wanted our older students to have a chance to enjoy music in a less formal setting, and also to practice their social and money skills at the same time,” he said.

And based off student reactions to the performance, there’s no question that this was achieved.


There have been many concerts throughout the year, but this one was very unique for two reasons. One was that this was the first concert to incorporate dance, music and video. Jen had a total of four performances, followed by a video on the history of tap dance after each routine. This gave both an entertainment and historical view for the students to enjoy

Two is that Jen is one of The Children’s Institutes own. Not only does she have incredible tap dancing skills, but also has taught as a TDS teacher for more than four years now. 

Jen started as a student teacher in the spring of 2013. She fit right in.

“I always wanted to work here,” Jen told me. “I actually realized I wanted to teach because I was a dance assistant at my old dance school and loved working with kids.” 

She brought this passion with her to the stage as she did her first performance to the song “Footloose,” a great first choice to hype up the students. At one point she even brought up some students to dance with her, as well as dancing with those in the crowd. Employees and students alike were able to appreciate the concert. One café worker even stopped over to say “Wow, she can really dance.”

Jen’s motivation for performing was being able to provide a fun and entertaining show for the students. 

“I’d say my favorite part of the concert was seeing the students’ faces from my perspective,” she said. “It was awesome seeing them react and hearing their comments/noises when I stepped foot on the stage. Seeing their joy definitely made all my work worth it.”

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